Same Height?

Be on Guard for Selective Perception and other Meeting Participant Biases

Guard against selective perception. As their session leader, remember that everything heard in a meeting or workshop is interpreted and filtered differently by participants.  They will hear or see differently based on their individual biases, or colored lenses.  To illustrate the point, the pictures below are all from the same area in space using different lenses…

WHY Are We Doing This

How to Help a Group Decide the WHY, WHAT, and HOW—Purpose, Criteria, and Options

To facilitate consensus around simple decision-making, consider the following scenario and do not forget to help the group articulate the purpose of the project your meeting supports.  Let us say that four of us are taking a trip from Minneapolis to New Orleans.  Consider why we are going, the options, and how we might get…


How to Effectively Build a Consensual Message for Project Updates in 30 Minutes

Purpose of 30-30 Project Updates: Time is precious.  Stakeholders want and need project updates but do not want to overinvest.  Dashboards are a fine example, relying on green lights, yellow lights, and red lights to highlight the status of project activities.  Another approach you can use includes the “30 in 3” update.  It takes less than…

Remove Distractions

Effective Facilitators Remember to Remove Distractions to Provide More Focus

Getting participants to focus on the same thing at the same time represents one of the hardest thing to accomplish with a group of people. Therefore, learning to remove distractions reflects a core skill and primary responsibility of the meeting leader. Your Rosetta Stone: Remove Distractions Remember that all questions you have about what you…

Facilitation Guidelines

15 Facilitation Guidelines Followed by Professional Facilitators

In the role of facilitator, you can be worth your weight in gold by following these fifteen simple, yet critical facilitation guidelines. 15 Facilitation Guidelines Session leaders must observe carefully and listen to all that the group says and does. Be there! Totally immerse your body, mind, and spirit in the method of the group. Recognize…

The Facilitation Wheel

The Primary Facilitation Skills of Highly Effective Professionals

The mandala wheel illustrates the primary facilitation skills required of a professional. The wheel suggests context and method; you provide the other skills and attributes after confirming the group goal or deliverable with the participants and ensuring they find the agenda a reasonable approach (preferably completed during the interview or Preparation phase). Active listening Contacting…

Executing Your Strategy

Facilitators’ Overview of the HBR Book Executing Your Strategy

Executing Your Strategy was published by Harvard Business School Press and written by two FAST alumni. The tightly woven book provides instruction on how to transform strategy into projects. Writers Morgan and Malek (both previously professors at Stanford University), spoke with us about the importance of professional facilitation to both “plan your work” (strategy) and “work your…

Three Questions for Clarity and Precision

Three Simple yet Precise Questions that Improve Group Clarity and Consensus Building

We have learned during facilitated meetings and workshops, that it’s not easy for participants to respond to broad questions like “How do you solve global hunger?”  While meaningful, the question’s scope is too broad (and perhaps vague) to stimulate specific, actionable (ie, SMART) responses like “We could convert eight abandoned mine shafts in Somalia to create…

Three Principles

You Can Effectively Facilitate With These Three Guiding Principles

There are three guiding principles of effective facilitation.  The first and foremost includes first No Harm, giving way to the Safety Moments and OE (ie, Operational Excellence moments shared in many companies). The second is Focus and the importance of removing distractions.  The third is managing and reminding about Perspective, whether individual or group, and…